We're a professional couple with a crazy schedule and plenty of personal visitors and non-personal visitors (who we often stay in touch with after their stay). We have 5+ years of busy hosting under our belt (not with Air B&B) and we pretty much have it down to an efficient science.
We have been together since '04. We've both traveled to 6 six continents, sometimes together, sometimes alone. Lyney lived in China for 2 yrs. T grew up elsewhere and has been in the States for 25+ years. Antarctica is definitely on our list of "to-do's". We travel internationally 2-3 times/yr and domestically/regionally in-between.
Southeast Asia and Asia in general is our specialty, but we've also done Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Belize, Mexico, Canada, The UK (Scotland, England, and Wales), Paris, Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, Amsterdam, Morocco, Egypt, Bahrain, etc. And we've traveled extensively within the U.S.
We usually take 12 - 18 days to comprehensively explore a country, sometimes learning the language, history, and culture prior to the trip... and nearly always planning out a detailed itinerary before we go, using the Lonely Planet, blogs, and hostel booking websites as our primary sources.
WHAT ARE WE PASSIONATE ABOUT?
MUSIC: We LOVE music; we see live shows at least once a month and attend around 3 domestic music fests each year. We especially love discovering new indie bands. We dig Indie Music and we're sooo into the '70s/80s music (the good stuff, not the cheesy stuff); our cheap record player is begging for a bigger cheap vinyl selection (we have about 20 right now)...
GARDENING: Lyney loves to garden, so we've got a few work-in-progress gardens on the premises.
CUISINE: We hate to say we're "foodies" b/c it sounds a bit high-brow, but we really love finding fabulous flavors around town and even in our own kitchen.
We especially get excited when we discover something new. I will usually try just about anything. I've eaten blood, pig brains, bullfrog, guinea pig, frog legs, caviar, pate, fois gras, chicken hearts, etc.
One of my favorite foods is escargot (so much so that I buy it at Costco) and T and I usually do sushi at least once a month, though he's a big fan of Mexican food. We go grocery shopping once a month in the Indian section of town... and usually hit up the Korean grocery store once a year to stock up on sauces/seaweed/canned ingredients.
And for us, the spicier, the better!!! Bring it on! Hot sauces? Yum. The hotter, the better, and we're always looking for a new one to try.
Exotic coffee? Yum.
Sweets, not so much.
Foreign cheese? Dig cheeses that are mild, semi-firm to firm and complex.
We spend anywhere from $0.50 per person (street food in third world countries) to $250 per person (extremely special occasions).
OUR CITY: I thoroughly believe in being a tourist in my own city. Every time we travel to a city, I think, "If only we had more time here..." Well, in Chicago, we do! So we take full advantage!
We're intimately familiar with Chicago and love to share the info that we've gathered living here in Chicago, so we can recommend the best places in Chi-town, whether you're looking for dive bars, dancing, you-but-not-you, or even if you're looking for something more unique, like learning to make jewelry, or where you can take trapeze lessons (that's not a joke!), or where you can buy a sitar. If we don't know the answer, we'll at least be able to tell you how to find it.
And we have very organized binders filled with maps/brochures/information, carefully categorized & user-friendly, so that you can plan your trip and/or take maps & brochures with you during the day, no matter what your interest is. We also have some Chicago guidebooks for you to borrow.
IMBIBING: We both love a good wine and tend to stay around the $15 and under range. Lyney loves trying new cocktail recipes (she often just asks bartenders who don't mind playing along to just "make me something I've never had before")... and T likes to try cheap sake... We enjoy tequila tasting... and our primary hard liquor of choice is Ketel One.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Lyney loves to play around with basic-basic-basic photography. New angles, shapes, color...
THE STAGE: We really don't see enough plays. I see maybe 3 plays per year and T sees maybe 1 per year b/c I make him... but he enjoys it. Usually. I see a ballet every time I go to NYC (it's oddly cheaper there)... and would go all of the time in Chicago if I could afford it! There's nothing quite like a good ballet. (The Nutcracker and Swan Lake are awful ballets and should be banned.) And I enjoy opera, though I haven't seen enough of it.
ART/ARCHITECTURE: I love modern & contemporary art; T's not a big fan, but he's into more classical eras.
I happen to be on a Tara Donovan kick at the moment... Chagall is an older favorite, since childhood... Degas' ballerinas are my cliche go-to (I just love them.).
I realize that he's controversial, but I so enjoy Frank Gehry's work. If you haven't seen the documentary, "Sketches of Frank Gehry" (2005), you really should.
NEWNESS: We're ADDICTED to "new"... give us something we've never tried before and we're in!
HOW WE SPEND OUR MONEY: We're into spending money on our trips, so we don't have much in the way of "toys" (big tv, fancy cars, etc.). We lean towards minimalism.
WHAT DO WE READ?
Lyney loves historical and cultural non-fiction... and BritLit... as well as other classics... A modern favorite is Jhumpa Lahiri. An old favorite is War and Peace, though The Winter Of Our Discontent is fabulous. Emily Dickinson may be an easy pick, but she makes my heart soar.
T's into what Lyney calls "junk novels", but he's a news junkie and is addicted to constant learning...
Our magazine subscriptions include: Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, National Geographic, SPIN, Digital Photography, Forbes, New York Magazine, etc. and are all available for you to read while here (and to take with you, if you so desire). Lyney wants The New Yorker, but it's such a $$$ subscription!
TV/FILM: T loves sci-fi, but not in an extreme geeky way (er, not that there's anything wrong with that...?) and Lyney loves drama. We both like a good indie or foreign film.
WHO DO WE GET ALONG WITH BEST?
Laid-back, low-maintenance, self-sufficient, not fearful, adventurous people who make smart/safe/educated travel decisions (such as not walking alone at 3 in the morning on Chicago's south-west side) and who take full advantage of their time in Chicago.
Non-judgmental; open-minded; We're not into racism/xenophobia
Interested in exchanging cultural info/learning from each other's cultures
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon
“Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn't rush into it.” David Quammen
"This too shall pass."
"Dear Lord, make me a bird, so I can fly far... far, far away." Jenny, in Forest Gump
"The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering,
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die."